Library Llorona

I guess you'll know the end when it comes, she said.

    I did not know what the hell she was talking about. The end of what, I said.

    The woman in the blue dress smiled and became beautiful with that smile. Her teeth brightened, her eyes sparkled, her cheeks filled with color. Her face leaned in.

    You see me, she said.

    Can I help you? I said.

    She said that I could. You could help me, very much. I need to find a book for my little boy.

    We walked down the end of the stacks and took a left. A couple dozen feet and we stepped on the bright carpet. The shelves were decorated with sun patterns, wavy lines and reds and yellows. I gestured.

    Here we are. What kind of books does your little boy read?

    Her smile faltered, a cloud passing through this land of youthful sunshine. I don't know, she said.

    Does he like anything? Sports or movies-

    Movies. He loved those action movies with the guys in tights.

    Comics. Maybe he would like some graphic novels. Spider-man?

    Her face darkened, her mood deepened, but she nodded. We walked that way and as we reached the bins with graphic novels I felt a cold shiver. Turning, the woman in the blue dress had gone.

    Ma'am, I said. I walked around the stacks but could not find her.

    Who're you looking for? the children's librarian asked.

    I was helping this lady.

    Blue dress?

    Yeah. She leave?

    That's Llorona. She asked you for help looking for a book for her little boy.

    Yeah. Who is she?

    Was. She died a dozen years ago or more. Was on the computer while her kid choked on a pretzel. She came back here, cut her own throat. Now she hangs out here, leading people to the children's section and vanishing.

    So what do I do now? I said.

    Shelve some books. I don't care. The children's librarian left me with that. I stood in the library alone and wondered how alone I was.